The Condition of Women in Film in the United States
By Jihye You
These statistics about the condition of women in Film industry are taken from 2 research papers in 2013 by Martha M. Lauzen, Ph.D.; The Celluloid Ceiling: Behind-the-Scenes Employment of Women on the Top 250 Films of 2013 and it’s a Man’s (Celluloid) World: On-Screen Representations of Female Characters in the Top 100 Films of 2013.
The first research paper has tracked women’s employment as directors, writers, executive producers, producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the top 250 (domestic) grossing films for the last 16 years. The second research paper reports the findings of a content analysis of over 2,300 characters appearing in the top grossing films of 2013.
Percentages of Employment in Key Behind-the-Scenes Roles* by Gender
From 1998 to 2013, men employed in Key-Behind-the-Scenes Roles have been over 80%, on the other hand, women accounted for less than 20%. In 2013, women comprised 16% of all directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors.
Percentages of Women Employed Behind the Scenes on Top 250 Films by Role
6% of directors, 10% of writers, 15% of executive producers, 25% of producers, 17% of editors and 3% of cinematographers were women on the top 250 domestic grossing films of 2013.
A historical comparison of women employment in 2013 and 1998 reveals that the percentages of women directors, writers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers have decreased. The percentage of producers has increased slightly.
A historical comparison of women employment in 2013 and 2012 reveals that the proportions of women directors, writers, executive producers, and editors have declined. The percentage of women producers has remained the same. The proportion of women cinematographers has grown slightly.
According to the second research paper, female characters remained dramatically under-represented as protagonists, major characters, and speaking (major and minor) characters in the top grossing films of 2013. Females comprised 15% of protagonists, 29% of major characters, and 30% of all speaking characters.
Only 13% of the top 100 films featured equal numbers of major female and male characters, or more major female characters than male characters.
Historical Comparison of Percentages of Female and Male Characters as Protagonists
In 2013, only 15% of all clearly identifiable protagonists were female (up 4% from 2011, down 1% from 2002), 71% are male, and 14% are male/female ensembles.
Comparison of Percentages of Female and Male Characters as Leaders
In type of leader, women comprised 3% of blue-collar leaders, 11% of political leaders, 12% of criminal leaders, 14% of military leaders, 16% of white-collar leaders, and 23% of social leaders.
The Celluloid Ceiling: Behind-the-Scenes Employment of Women on the Top 250 Films of 2013 by Martha M. Lauzen, Ph.D., Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film
It’s a Man’s (Celluloid) World: On-Screen Representations of Female Characters in the Top 100 Films of 2013 by Martha M. Lauzen, Ph.D., Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film